Katie and I are very thankful for the financial success The White Coat Investor has brought us personally. One of the ways in which we like to “pay it forward” is through The White Coat Investor Scholarship. The WCI staff is justifiably proud of this program and despite the hassle factor insist that we continue it each year. I know of no other blog that gives away this much money to its readers. Although I suppose it has some marketing value for the enterprise (that's certainly where it gets put on the income statement) we really view it as an opportunity to very directly assist professional students in minimizing the financial burdens of their training. When the contest ends in October, we literally write and mail out big fat checks to the winners to use for whatever they want.
The scholarship also provides an opportunity to build The White Coat Investor community. Site advertisers start asking months in advance when they can sign up to sponsor it (it helps that it is the best advertising value we offer). Readers who are students apply by the hundreds. Readers who are not students sign up to pick the winners. By the time it is all said and done each Fall, we're all better off for it.
We're adding a few minor tweaks this year, but for the most part, it's going to be the same process as last year, just with a larger pot of prize money.
We traditionally contribute 1% of our WCI salaries and profits each year into the contest toward the cash prizes. This year we will personally contribute $13,000 in cash to the scholarship, $10,000 to the pot that gets divided up between the top three, plus $2,000 to 4th place and $1,000 to 5th place. $13K is more than was in the entire pot the first year (2015) that this scholarship contest was run. We will also contribute two boxes of WCI books (>$5,000 value), and 10 online courses ($5,000 value). We will also cover all the costs of administering the program so every dollar donated by corporate and individual sponsors goes to the winners.
Site sponsors have already contributed $36,500 toward the scholarship. We hope that you will also feel a desire to contribute to the program, as it is really a community effort.
In 2015, our first year running this scholarship, we awarded over $12,000 for this winning essay. In 2016, we awarded over $30,000 in cash and prizes, with the lion’s share going to the author of this winning submission. In 2017, we awarded nearly $40,000 in cash and prizes to a diverse group of five winners, including the grand prize winner who received $21,400 in cash.
The prizes this year will be as follows
- Grand Prize: 60% of the cash pot, plus choice of online course (Fire Your Financial Advisor or the WCICON18)
- 2nd Place: 30% of the cash raised plus choice of online course
- 3rd Place: 10% of the cash raised plus choice of online course
- 4th Place: $2,000 cash, a copy of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide to Personal Finance and Investing for each member of your class, plus choice of online course
- 5th Place: $1,000 cash, a copy of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide to Personal Finance and Investing for each member of your class, plus choice of online course
- Honorable mention: 6th-10th place will also receive their choice of online course
The cash pot to be divided among the top three is already up to $48,600 with an estimated total of cash and prizes for the contest of over $60,000!
Only professional students enrolled full-time for the 2018-2019 year and in good academic standing are eligible (yes, we actually call your school and check.) That means medicine, osteopathy, podiatry, dentistry, law, pharmacy, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, optometry etc. No undergraduates. No residents. Even if you’re a dental resident paying tuition. Sorry. Students only. You do not need to be a US resident or even be attending a school in the US, but you MUST HAVE A US SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. As we are not a registered charity, the winners of the top three prizes will be required to fill out a W-9 before receiving their money and we will issue them a 1099 and report the income to the IRS. Consider it to be fully taxable income. The good news is your tax bracket is almost surely dramatically lower than ours, allowing us to give more and you to receive more on an after-tax basis.
How To Apply
All applications that follow the guidelines and are submitted between June 1 and August 31, 2018 before midnight MST will be accepted and judged.
The application consists of an email to [email protected] with “WCI Scholarship Application” in the subject line and includes the following information:
- Full Name
- Your Anticipated Degree and date of graduation
- Full Name of Your School
- Your Mailing Address
- Your Phone Number
- Your Email Address
- An 800-1200 word proofread essay written by you in English on any topic you choose submitted as an attached .doc file (such as that produced by Microsoft Word or Google Docs) sent via attachment or shared link. The essay cannot be published elsewhere.
Do not put identifying information in the essay file. It will have a number attached to it and judges will not receive any information about you other than what is contained in the essay.
If you are a prize winner, your essay will be published on this website in October 2018, and barring particularly exceptional circumstances like these, with your name and photo. (We only ask for a photo and a W-9 for winners so it is a good sign if we ask for your photo and a W-9.) Be aware that people in your hospital and perhaps future professional life will read your essay. I anticipate only publishing excerpts of the honorable mention essays.
We will be disabling comments on the winning essay posts this year because I found it embarrassing in the past to see the winners subjected to anonymous internet troll criticism by people who weren't even willing to contribute or judge the contest. Unfortunately, that means they also won't see the dozens of congratulatory comments either but c'est la vie.
The Judging Process
WCI staff are not involved in the judging process whatsoever. We had 400+ applications last year and expect even more this year. We will need the assistance of dozens of volunteer judges to assure a fair outcome. If you have ever found yourself wishing someone else had won first prize, sign-up and throw in your two cents! There will be a three-stage judging process. All volunteer judges will be WCI readers who are working or retired professionals (not students or residents).
In the first round, we will provide a number of essays (10-20) to each judge and ask them to recommend 2-3 to pass on to the next round. The second round will consist of fewer judges and a lot fewer essays but will follow a similar format. The final round will consist of 12 judges who rank the 10 finalist essays with the top essay getting 10 points, then 9 points, then 8 points etc. The essay that receives the top score will receive the grand prize and so forth. If there is a tie, only the tied essays will be provided to an additional judge to make a selection. The round a judge serves in will be determined randomly to minimize bias. Judges will remain anonymous to each other and to applicants.
If you are a professional and would be willing to read and rank 10-20 (hopefully ten) 1000 word essays in a timely manner at some point in September, please send an email to [email protected] with the words “Volunteer Judge” in the subject line. You’ll have a few days for the task, but not a few weeks. If you discover you cannot fulfill this duty at any point, please advise us ASAP so we can find someone else.
What Should You Write About?
You may write about anything you wish. However, after three years of doing this, I can tell you that most judges aren’t too impressed with you resubmitting your medical or dental school admissions essay. Also, remember that the judges are WCI readers with at least a passing interest in financial matters. You may also wish to go back and read some of the prize-winning essays in the past to see what did well. And please have someone else read it before submitting it; typos, misspellings, and grammar errors don’t impress anyone. You can write about a cool experience, your financial needs, what you would use the money for, what your future professional plans are, your family, something suitable for a guest post on a financial website, or just some random poem about tulips. However, if it is fiction, it needs to be very clear from the essay that it is fiction. No making yourself out to be Little Orphan Annie if you aren’t.
As a general rule, creativity is rewarded, particularly inspiring stories of challenges overcome do well, and insightful anecdotes from your schooling that remind readers of their own years of study seem to resonate. You can write about your pet political topic if you like, but those seem to end up with half of judges loving them and half hating them, which doesn't tend to result in a high enough score to win. Perhaps if you write about both sides of a controversial topic the judges would look more favorably on it! The judges tend to be a diverse crowd by race and gender with a significant skewing toward US physicians in their 30s and 40s reflective of the general readership of the site.
Call For Contributions
Please consider donating to the scholarship fund. 100% of your donation will go to the prize winners. Unfortunately, we are not a 501(c)3 registered charity, so your donation is not tax-deductible unless you can write it off as a marketing expense for your business (which is what most sponsors do.) Even without a tax deduction, it’s a great cause, a lot of fun, and a chance to pay your financial success forward. You might not even be itemizing this year anyway with recent tax law changes. You can remain anonymous or not, your choice. Be sure to tell us if you want to be anonymous.
We can take contributions most easily via Paypal to [email protected] (use “send money to friends and family” option to maximize your contribution) although if you would like to use a credit card, let us know and we’ll send you a Paypal invoice you can use a credit card to pay. You can also send checks to:
The White Coat Investor, LLC
P.O. Box 520421
Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-0421
Perhaps most easily, just use this handy button to contribute using Paypal or any major credit card.
Who Has Already Contributed?
We are extremely grateful for the scholarship sponsors who have already stepped up and made significant contributions. We have divided sponsors into 4 levels.
Platinum Level Contributors ($5000 or more)
The White Coat Investor, LLC
Larry Keller (Physician Financial Services) – Disability and Life Insurance
CommonBond – Student Loan Refinancing
Laurel Road – Student Loan Refinancing
Bob Bhayani (Dr Disability Quotes) -Disability and Life Insurances
Physician Home Loans at Fairway Mortgage – Doctor Mortgage Loans
Gold Level Contributors ($700 or more)
ProAssurance – Professional Liability Insurance for Doctors
Jamie Fleischner (Set for Life Insurance) – Disability and Life Insurance
Lucidity Direct – Locum Tenens
Chris Duncan (JumboCDInvestments) – Investments
Mike Wagner (BBVA) – Doctor Mortgages
Jon Appino (Contract Diagnostics) – Contract Review/Negotiation
D.K. Unger (DI4MDS) – Disability and Life Insurance
W. Ben Utley (Physician Family Financial Advisors) – Financial Advising
Johanna Turner (Fox and Company Wealth Management) – Financial Advising
Rick Warren (Insuring Income) – Disability and Life Insurance
Stephanie Pearson (PearsonRavitz) – Disability and Life Insurance
Michael Relvas (MR Insurance) – Disability and Life Insurance
Jonathan Brozek (US Bank) – Doctor Mortgages
Sofi – Student Loan Refinancing
Daniel Wrenne (Wrenne Financial Planning) – Financial Advising
Chris Roberts (Regions Bank) – Doctor Mortgages
Silver Level Contributors ($100 or more)
Includes my ski buddies from the WCI Conference, each of whom donated $100 to spend a few hours on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort with each other and me!
- Laurence Kinsella
- Tim Saettele
- Greg Lamb
- Mike McEwan
- Brett Laggan
- Matt Wolfe
- Harry Sit (Advice-Only Financial) – Financial Advising
Bronze level Contributors ($10 or more)
Your name could be here!
Although we limit the platinum level sponsors to just 5, Gold and Silver level sponsors also receive valuable advertising benefits for their contribution. Contact [email protected] for corporate sponsorship details if you are interested in sponsoring the scholarship at the Gold or Silver levels. Like last year, you will see five sponsored posts this summer, one for each of the Platinum level sponsors.
Thank you for supporting those who support the website and the scholarship. Also, consider posting this flyer in your school or hospital.
What do you think? Will you be applying? Will you be judging? Will you be contributing? Comment below!